On the homefront

Posted by Nate in Homeowners, Neighborhood.
Thursday, February 9th, 2006 at 9:36 pm

Shortly after moving to the Duoteam HQ, I signed up for emails of crime stats for the neighborhood and various police alerts as they were issued. Minneapolis has what seems to be a good system, where each precinct is divided into sectors, and each sector has a (civilian) Crime Prevention Specialist paired with a (cop) lieutenant. This CPS sends out the monthly stats, and in my initial signup email I asked what else I might look into in the neighborhood. Apart from having a very active neighborhood organization to check into, she recommended that I look at starting a block club.

I attended a block leader training at the end of January, and it was pretty informative. If nothing else, it drove home the point that we really need to meet more than just our immediate neighbors. I think an organized block, even if they meet just twice a year, is a much friendlier place to live. As a renter until recently, it never really occurred to me to make the effort to meet neighbors when it always felt like a non-permanent home — now that I’m able to look ahead several years in the same place, it matters. I think it will get easier in the Spring and Summer, in fact I’m counting on it: I hope to do more research, maybe knock on a few doors to gauge interest, and then come April or so try to start up a block club. Informal, low key, but something.

So tonight Karen and I attended a community meeting on the (gang) graffiti epidemic sweeping the precinct. Not a super productive meeting – I don’t feel like some of the police representatives were the best communicators, and some of the residents (one vocal guy) were hostile towards what they perceive as inaction. But it raised some good points, and gave me some stuff to think about. When our garage got hit, I did a bunch of research and was close to starting to build something (nerd!) based on this idea: a transportable or fixed unit that can listen for the unique ultrasonic sound signature of a spray can and automatically call the cops. How smart is that, really. So. Smart. The lady in charge of building cases against graffiti suspects was all about this camera rig, but said she was open to suggestions. She’ll be getting a call from this homeowner, tell you what. There’s only so far that painting over it will get you, eventually you’ve got start catching the dudes in the act.

So, that’s the word on the homefront. I feel pretty safe in our neighborhood still, I’ve installed a bunch more motion-detecting lights, and we keep all our doors locked. Bruno’s been getting some test runs out of his kennel alone, and he’s made it 4 hours or so without incident. Hopefully soon he can be free in the house all day and that’s just one more deterrent… Big dogs are nice like that. :)

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One Response to “On the homefront”

  1. Rick Says:

    I think the idea of meeting your neighbors makes great sense. And I bet others will be glad you took the initiative. And it sounds like the Brunster is making good progress toward being left in the house alone.